Ron Paul activists are the ‘Occupy’ movement of the right

By Neal Larson

A few days ago, Congressman Ron Paul used the word “infiltration” while describing his supporters’ relationship with the Republican Party. On more than one occasion Paul supporters have called my radio show telling me, “We’re taking over your party, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Months ago, one of my politically-connected friends warned me of the Ron Paul strategy to win the nomination by hijacking delegates, and while I didn’t disbelieve his prediction, I was skeptical that it could be done. Since the outcomes in both Maine and Nevada now have been manipulated by Paul supporters, I’m awake to the effort, and find myself scrambling to warn as many as possible with the few days left we have before the primary election on May 15.

A plan is in place among Paul’s most ardent supporters in Idaho to win as many Republican precinct committee races as possible, enough to successfully vote for a suspension of party rules at the state convention this summer, and re-assign the delegates in some manner preferable to Ron Paul. In essence, they are attempting to reverse the caucus results in their favor.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the libertarian infiltration of the GOP has become the “Occupy” movement of the right. At times in history, a political ideology becomes so intoxicating to some that they are willing to short-circuit fundamental principles of freedom and self-government, because their ends justify the means. Several of the Paul supporters have said that this strategy is acceptable because sometimes the people get it wrong, or that the rules allow for such maneuvering. When a political activist reaches this place, it is a scary place indeed. The argument for a king, dictator, tyrant or Dear Leader is always made because sometimes the “people get it wrong.” Ron Paul has become their Dear Leader.

This is all happening on a previously ignored level of politics. The precinct committee races never used to be considered all that important. But this has been the quiet door through which Paul’s supporters have slipped in. Coming up on May 15, more are waiting to enter. In recent election cycles a subtle but real effort has resulted in leadership changes in county parties across the country that have given a disproportionate representation to the pro-Paul libertarian wing of the party. It’s often hard to identify them. They don’t make “Because the people are too stupid…” their yard sign slogan, though they should.

And the irony is not lost on me that the very people who speak so vocally of freedom and constitutional principles would disenfranchise the tens of thousands of Idahoans who spent — in some cases — hours in a not-so-comfortable caucus to cast their vote.

Our job is to be more vigilant in the final days before the election. Do some homework. Find out who’s running for precinct committeman in your neighborhood. Call them. Vet them. If they don’t answer unequivocally to uphold the voice of Idahoans in this year’s caucus, don’t just vote against them. Actively work to prevent them from getting elected. Tell your Facebook friends. Pick up your phones. Go door to door and campaign for individuals who value and will protect the raw material of a self-governed society: Our vote.

I have been impressed by much of Ron Paul’s message. It has made a difference in this primary process. While some candidates may never get elected to high office, their presence in a campaign can have a lasting positive effect. This is the case with Congressman Paul. What disappoints me is that this consistent congressman who has persistently articulated a message of freedom has become so hungry to have an influence in the election, he’s resorting to tactics that run counter to his rhetoric and core beliefs. Let’s call this what it is: appalling, despicable and atrocious. If our vote matters, we must honor it by disallowing such a maneuver.

We have, in the past, been subject to covert political efforts that threatened to destabilize our freedom. They’re covert because their message doesn’t have mass appeal. And when a message lacks the power to change enough hearts and minds to win an election, the alternative should never be to steal it.

On May 15, we have the power to not just preserve our voice and the voice of a vast majority of Idahoans. We have the power to jettison a corrosive element that has by its own admission infiltrated the Republican Party. The Republican tent ought to be big, but never so big as to allow a faction that seeks to usurp our freedom.

Neal Larson of Idaho Falls is a conservative talk show host on KID Newsradio 590am and 92.1fm. “The Neal Larson Show” can be heard weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. His email address is neal@590kid.com.